Durst 138s: I have a chance to get one.

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Stephanie Brim, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Okay, story. Because, seriously, this crap never happens to me.

    I decided to try a camera store today to see if they had any 4x5 enlargers. I'm looking for used, obviously, because I can't afford anything new. Porters, in Cedar Falls, Iowa, is the one I called. It's an outlet. So I talk to a guy and he goes to ask about enlargers. When he comes back on, he says, I shit you not, "There's a customer here who may have something for you."

    When he said Durst, I about giggled with glee. When he said 138s, I said a little prayer to the deities of black and white photography. When he said it came with a 210mm lens, it finally dawned on me that this wasn't just a 4x5 enlarger. When he said 5x7, I finally about lost it. I got him off the phone and actually got so excited I started crying. Heh.

    So...uh...anything I should know? Other than to say YES YES YES to about any price he throws at me under $500? I'll beg or borrow to have this thing. I don't know what all he has, but I do know that he has the 210 Nikkor, a 135 or 150 Nikkor, and a Schneider for medium format.

    Holy crap. No, really. HOLY CRAP.

    I'm going to need to make *much* more room in the basement...
     
  2. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    Go for it - I have four and they are great enlargers!! (If the light isn't broken, but There are people who have made alternative lights - and I think there's a thread about this on this board..)
     
  3. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I did find that thread after I posted and I'm about to read it. He says it still works, so I shouldn't have to worry for a while, anyway.
     
  4. paul ewins

    paul ewins Subscriber

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    Most of the 138s were floor standing, but other than that aren't particularly bulky or tall. The biggest issue can be getting the condensors if it has a conventional head. If it has all the accessories that you need and you have the floorspace in your darkroom (basically a space the size of the baseboard) than it is a fantastic enlarger.
     
  5. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    He has everything. It comes with all condensers, the negative carrier that does all the formats, extra lamp bulbs, 210 Nikkor and 135 Schneider, he says he'll throw in a 240mm Tele-Xenar that he doesn't use, and his wife knits. Heh.

    Basically, this is fate. I just have to figure out a way to make it happen.

    The only catch: he wants $1000. I can't give him that. I have to figure out a way to get him down in price.
     
  6. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Oh, and by the way, he says that it won't be going anywhere, so I can take all the time I need. Heh. I think I may be able to get him down to $500, which is the most I could get together on short notice for something like this.

    Holy crap, guys. I'm going to do this.
     
  7. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Go for it!
     
  8. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    How exciting!! Years and years of darkroom fun await...

    Marc!
     
  9. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    Stephanie, If everything is in excellent shape I would try to scape up more than $500 for than enlarger. I paid $500 for my 138S, which included shipping. But I paid at least that to get an excellent set of condensers and a negative carrier. The 180mm Conponon S was another $200. It's still quite a good deal at a $1000 (again assuming excellent condition for all parts). Add in that you don't need freight shipping and I would jump on it.
     
  10. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    It's a two owner machine. I'd be the third. Functionally it's amazing. The biggest concern is going to be finding the funds for it.

    He says there's no hurry, so I can actually get the money together gradually. If that's the case, I'll be able to do it in a few months if I get the yarn production into high gear.
     
  11. frotog

    frotog Member

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    I would do the very opposite of what L Gebhard says - offer him less. In fact offer him $350 and let him talk you up to $500. If you're in the right place at the right time (which it sounds like you are) and if the seller has no interest in trying his hand at ebay than it is most certainly a buyer's market. In fact, the seller is very lucky he found you because the scrap yard wouldn't give him more than $25 for this setup.
     
  12. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Good luck. Assuming you do get it, you will need to get it home and use it. Scroll down this page to 138 manual and brochure. http://www.durst-pro-usa.com/resources.php. It shows you how to take it apart into I think it is five pieces so it will fit in a car. I brought two from Detroit to Cleveland in an SUV. These will also teach you how to use it. There is lots of other good stuff on that link.

    If you ever go up to 8x10 take a look at the mislabeled 108 (should be 138S) Durst in my gallery. 12x12 Cold light Aristo head with modifications done by Michael Mutmansky.

    John Powers
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2012
  13. frotog

    frotog Member

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    The 138 comes apart easily. All you need is a large phillips head screwdriver to remove the condenser head. All the collar locks along the column are tightened and loosened by hand. Once apart you'll have no problem fitting it into a compact car.

    It is a good thing that this enlarger has a set of condensers and some spare bulbs. You cannot get a more even lightsource for b/w than a durst condenser head.
     
  14. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    As I recall, if you separate the column into two sections you need a big #4 phillips. Be careful of the
    heavy spring which counterbalances the head. These enlargers have all kinds of fine-tuning options,
    and a lot of them were made, so if you need parts you can often cannibalize another "as is" one.
    That's what I did, and ended up with two fully refurbished one in excellent working order (one with
    a colorhead and the other modified for 8X10 film with a cold light). Finding extra negative carriers in
    good condition affordably can take a bit of patience, but I picked up a mint one a few months ago
    for about thirty bucks - in the good ole days they cost $1200 (for a spare carrier alone)! These vintage Durst enlargers are simply the best! You never get machining like that nowadays.
     
  15. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    As said I have four.. with all kinds of extras.. Got it for free (!!) So Stephanie, IF you find you need some extras PM me.. I'll proberly be able to help you out. For a "price" you can't refuse.. ;-)
     
  16. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I think all I'm going to come away needing is an 80mm lens for medium format. It's a really complete kit. Husband is on board with the idea.

    Right now the plan is this: if I can't come up with the money for the big one by the end of November, I'm going to buy the Omega smaller format one off of him and use that until I can. It would at least give me the ability to do contact prints without relying on a bare bulb. Then, as soon as I get the money, I call him back and we arrange pick-up of the other one.

    This guy sounds kind of cool. He shoots 4x5 and scans. He also used to shoot plates, so I kind of want to see those when I go. Basically, I'm excited to meet this guy, enlarger or no.